Photo Credit : mygola
Pancha Rathas, a monument complex at Mahabalipuram, on the Coromandel Coast of the Bay of Bengal, in the Kancheepuram district of the state of Tamil Nadu.
Pancha Rathas – Pandava Rathas
It is also known as Pandava Rathas, an example of monolithic Indian rock-cut architecture.
It is accredited to the reign of King Mahendravarman I and his son Narasimhavarman I (630–680 AD; also called Mamalla, or “great warrior”) of the Pallava Kingdom.
A novelty of Narasimhavarman, the structures are without any model in Indian architecture.
The complex is under the auspices of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed by UNESCO as Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram.
Each of the five monuments in the Pancha Rathas complex bear a resemblance to a chariot (ratha), and each is engraved over a single, long stone or monolith, of granite which slopes in north-south direction with a slight incline.
Though sometimes by mistake referred to as temples, the structures were never sanctified because they were not completed following the death of Narasimhavarman I.
The structures are named after the Pancha Pandavas and their common wife Draupadi, of epic Mahabharata fame.
In order of their size, they include the Dharmaraja Ratha, Bhima Ratha, Arjuna Ratha,Nakula Sahadeva Ratha, and Draupadi Ratha.